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Saturday, December 5, 2009

Thanks ....

to all the people who donated money when I was ringing the Salvation Army bell at Tops today (especially the lady who said "You sound just like that girl on the radio.")!.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Fatal Accident in Potter County

A Tennessee man is dead following an accident at about 11:30 Friday morning on Andrews Hills Road in Harrison Township, Potter County.

Police say 51-year-old Randall Wayne Fannon of Kingston was helping to unload a spa from a tractor-trailer onto a smaller trailer attached to an ATV. Fannon was standing on the trailer attached to the ATV when the weight transfer caused it to move. He fell from the trailer into the truck trailer and hit his head.

Coroner Kevin Dusenbury pronounced Fannon dead at 12:46 p.m. and ruled the cause of death as blunt force trauma to the head.

Harrison Valley Fire Department and Rescue, Tri-Town Ambulance and Deputy Coroner Kevin Dusenbury Jr. assisted at the scene.

PSP Joins MADD Campaign

Harrisburg – Red ribbons will be displayed on all marked state police patrol vehicles through Jan. 1 in support of the annual Mothers Against Drunk Driving "Tie One on for Safety" public awareness campaign, Commissioner Frank E. Pawlowski announced today.

"We are joining with MADD in urging motorists to tie a red ribbon on their vehicles as a pledge to drive safe, sober and buckled up during the holidays and throughout the year," Pawlowski said. The ribbons will be tied to the left rear door handles of state police patrol vehicles, he said.

"We now are in the second year of a Checkpoint Strikeforce Initiative that aims to keep highways safe by removing impaired drivers from the road," he said. Under the initiative, which began in October 2008, each of the 15 regional state police troops conducts a random sobriety checkpoint on most weekends.

"We are determined to reduce drinking and driving in Pennsylvania," said Pawlowski, who noted that state police made a record 16,156 DUI arrests in 2008.

He said MADD offers the following holiday party tips to ensure everyone’s safety:

· Designate a sober driver before celebrations begin;

· Never serve alcohol to anyone under 21 years of age;

· Provide non-alcoholic drink options to guests and do not serve alcohol during the last hour of a gathering, and;

· Be prepared to get everyone home safely in case your plans or circumstances change.

Images provided by MADD

Specter Wants GVOA Centers Open

Senator Arlen Specter is urging the government to keep the Governor's Veterans Outreach Assistance Center office in Erie, and four others in Pennsylvania, open.

Specter wrote to the secretaries of Veterans Affairs and Labor asking that they work to keep the centers open, saying that they provide vital assistance to veterans in rural Pennsylvania.

The state Department of Labor and Industry announced in November that the centers would close January 1 because of financial constraints.

You can read Specter's letter to Eric Shinseki and Hilda Solis here.

Man Indicted on Burglary Charges

A Cattaraugus County grand jury has indicted a Jamestown man for a string of burglaries.

24-year-old Gary McAffee is charged with burglary, criminal mischief and grand larceny.

On February 9 and 20, he allegedly committed the crimes in the Town of South Valley, and on March 1, 3 and 4 in the Town of Coldspring.

Causer Open House in Coudersport

COUDERSPORT - Rep. Martin Causer (R-Turtlepoint) is inviting area residents to join him for an open house at his Coudersport Office on Thursday, Dec. 10, from 3-6 p.m.

The office is located at 107 South Main St., Room 1.

"The only way I can do my job effectively is to maintain open lines of communication with the people I represent," Causer said. "I hope people will take a few minutes out of their schedules to stop by and share their thoughts about state government, or just say hello and enjoy some refreshments."

Causer said he has wanted to hold an open house since moving his Coudersport office from Allegany Avenue to South Main Street back in July; however, the budget process delayed the event.

For additional information on the open house or services provided at Causer's office, call 814-274-9769 or visit his Web site at RepCauser.com.

Woman Who Stole from Buffalo Bills Gets Community Service

A former Cattaraugus County woman who stole more than $70,000 from the Buffalo Bills has been sentenced to perform 100 hours of community service.

Bonnie Krauss, who had lived in Gowanda, now lives in California and will be able to perform the community service there. She had faced a sentence of seven years in prison after pleading guilty to grand larceny, but State Supreme Court Justice William Boller said she is not threat to public safety.

While Krauss worked as an administrative assistant in the Bills marketing and broadcasting department she used team credit cards for personal purchases.

Person of Interest Being Sought

Cattaraugus County Sheriff Deputies are looking for a person of interest in connection with the death of an elderly man in his Delevan Terrace Apartments home Tuesday.

Deputies say 80-year-old Wilbur Norton was found dead by a Meals on Wheels delivery person Tuesday around noon.

The Cattaraugus County has ruled the death as a homicide.

I-86 Reopens

Both lanes of Interstate 86 between Olean and Cuba opened at around noon today after being closed following the crash of a tractor-trailer carrying explosive material last night.

Authorities were waiting until crews trained in removing explosives could get the material onto another truck and transport it from the scene.

The accident happened at just before 7 o'clock last night near Hinsdale.

The driver, 62-year-old David Barnett, and his passenger, 36-year-old Jeffrey Barnett, both from Joplin, Missouri, suffered non-life threatening injuries.

Police say the Barnetts were on their way to Quebec when David Barnett swerved to avoid hitting a deer in the road.

Man Indicted for Raping Child

An Olean man accused of raping a child and other offenses against children has been indicted by a grand jury.

53-year-old Clayton Griffis is charged with sexual contact against a child and rape in connection with an incident on November 20, 2004. He is also charged with sexual abuse in connection with an incident in December of last year, and endangering the welfare of a child in connection with incident in October of 2001 and December of 2008.

All the alleged incidents happened in Olean.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Rig Carrying 'Explosive' Material Crashes on I-86; Road Closed

Emergency crews are currently on the scene of an accident on I-86 near Hinsdale where a tractor-trailer reportedly carrying explosive material has overturned.

As of 6:55 p.m. I-86 is closed from Olean to Cuba, NY.

No injuries have been reported.

UPDATE: Both lanes of I-86 from Olean to Cuba will remain closed until further notice while crews remove the explosive material.

Prescription Drug Discount Card
Introduced in Chautauqua County

Mayville, NY -- Building on his promises to help Chautauqua County residents save money, County Executive Gregory J. Edwards unveiled a brand new Prescription Drug Discount Card today.

The card will be provided free of charge to ALL Chautauqua County residents through a partnership with ProAct Inc., a Pharmacy Benefit Management Company based in Central NY. ProAct Inc. will begin mailing the no-cost, no-hassle prescription discount cards to County residents today (Wednesday). The cards should begin arriving in residents' mailboxes by the end of the week.

The new ProAct Prescription Drug Discount Card is separate from the Caremark Prescription Drug Card, which became available in early 2008.

Edwards said the new ProAct card will be sent directly to County residents through the mail, making it much easier for all residents to obtain the card.

“This is great news for Chautauqua County residents," Edwards said. "While all county residents are eligible to participate, this will be an even greater help to those that are uninsured and underinsured."

ProAct Discount Card Program Manager Mike Maenza said several other locations across the County will have the ProAct Prescription Drug Discount Card available for residents who stop by.

"The cards will also be available at a number of Chautauqua County agencies and participating pharmacies," Maenza said.

Any Chautauqua County resident, regardless of age, can participate in the discount program, and one discount card may be used for all family members. The ProAct card is accepted at most pharmacies in the County, and can be used at over 56,000 pharmacies nationwide. Participants will save an average of 10 to 20 percent on brand name prescriptions, and 20 to 70 percent on generic drugs.

The program will be of most benefit to residents lacking prescription drug insurance and seniors paying out-of-pocket expenses for the Medicare Part D coverage gap. The card can also be used for discounts on prescription medication for your pets.

To use the ProAct prescription discount card, simply present it at a participating pharmacy any time you fill a prescription. Residents with little to no prescription coverage will see immediate savings, while those individuals who have insurance will receive the discount on prescriptions that are not covered by their plan.

Chautauqua County is the 29th county in New York to offer this service. Through October of this year, over 809,000 prescriptions have been filled using this program with a saving of over $16 million to participating county residents.

If you have any question about this program or for more information call the ProAct Help Desk toll free at 1-877-776-2285 or visit their website, www.proactrx.com.

Pictured in the photo provided by Edwards' office are Edwards and Maenza.

Man Accused of Making Threats

A 19-year-old is accused of threatening to burn down the Forest-Warren Department of Human Services building and hurt one of the employees there.

Police say after Douglas Muzzy threatened to burn down the North Warren building he told a case worker she was going to loose some teeth after he hit her.

Police say Muzzy made the threats Nov. 23 and Tuesday.

Murder in Delevan, NY

Cattaraugus County Sheriff's deputies are investigating a murder in the Village of Delevan.

They say a Meals-on-Wheels worker found the body earlier this week at the Delevan Terrace Apartments.

No further details have been released yet.

Stat MedEvac, LifeStar to Merge

EmergyCare Inc. and the Center for Emergency Medicine of Western Pennsylvania will begin a joint venture involving LifeStar and Stat MedEvac.

Beginning Saturday, Stat MedEvac will supply LifeStar with its pilots, mechanics and other components of operating the helicopters, while EmergyCare will continue to provide the medical staff.

Stat MedEvac will also provide management as well as dispatching and billing services.

The Center for Emergency Medicine of Western Pennsylvania operates 17 Stat MedEvac base sites in Pennsylvania and Ohio.

http://www.lifestarerie.com/merger.html

Pitt-Bradford Student Presents
Paper at Sociology Conference

William C. Updegrove, a criminal justice major from Bradford at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, presented a paper at the Pennsylvania Sociological Society’s 59th Annual conference held at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania.

His paper, “A New Approach to Drug Prevention,” involved a critique of the D.A.R. E. program (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) and discussion of a social control approach. Dr. Michael Klausner, associate professor of sociology, was his faculty adviser for the paper.

In his paper, Updegrove contended that the D.A. R.E. program, which is widespread and funded by taxpayers, is not effective at preventing drug use and abuse based on data from the FBI. That data indicates an increase in drug use since the D.A.R.E. program has started.

He suggested that the positive elements of the program be combined with a social control program, which would include family members, members of the students’ peer groups and teachers in addition to law enforcement officers all sending the same message about the dangers of drug use.

Updegrove argued that the D.A. R. E. program does not resonate with various youth and subcultural segments of the society and, most important, does not use “peer groups.” He said using peer groups is essential because many studies show that peer groups are the most effective way to reduce drug use.

In addition, the D.A. R. E. program fails to underscore the role that children’s families could play in preventing drug use among children. The importance of additional training and education for the officer’s presenting the new program at schools was also discussed.

Thompson Asks Forest Service to Make ANF Meetings Public

Washington, D.C.—U.S. Representative Glenn `GT’ Thompson, R-Howard, today sent a letter to the Allegheny National Forest Supervisor Leanne Marten asking that all meetings on the Transition Environmental Impact Statement (TEIS) be open to the public.

The U.S. Forest Service has expressed their willingness to meet and discuss the TEIS with members of the public in private. There are three alternatives being considered by the Forest Service in the scoping process for oil and gas drilling on the Allegheny National Forest. The Forest Service staff announced they would hold individual meetings from Dec. 14th to the 17th for anyone interested in discussing the preliminary alternatives.

“Because the ANF plays such a pivotal role in Northwest Pennsylvania, I must ask that the Forest Service not abandon its policy of open, public meetings at this critical juncture and I make this request for several reasons,” wrote Thompson.

“The first is that while one-on-one meetings may be effective in communicating the Forest Service positions, it deprives the rest of the public the opportunity to hear your responses, along with the opportunity to learn the feelings and opinions of their fellow citizens. In this instance, public meetings are not simply about communicating data; they are also critical for giving people the opportunity to feel that their concerns are being heard, and that not only the Forest Service but the entire community has an opportunity to listen.”

“Second, the access of the media to public meetings is a critical and essential part of our history and its importance should not be underestimated,” Thompson wrote.

He also cited concerns from constituents who would like the policy of open meetings to continue, and concerns that public perception of additional changes in policy regarding the ANF without public meetings would be a negative one.

“As you well know, a growing number of the ANF community are already questioning U.S. Forest Service priorities and policy changes and feel that the Federal Government has breached its eight-decade-old agreement regarding timber harvesting and access to privately owned oil and gas resources. The lack of public meetings will only fuel these suspicions and I feel it is important that we do everything in our power, as government officials, to see that people have a transparent government with no hint of exclusivity or the blessing of predetermined policy decisions,” Thompson concluded.

Same-Sex Marriage Bill Defeated

Governor Paterson along with Senator Thomas K. Duane talks to reporters on the Senate floor after lawmakers rejected the marriage equality bill 38-24 on Wednesday.

“Governors don’t come to the Senate floor after losing a vote. This one does, because this is a fight that is bigger than one legislative vote," Paterson said. "This is a civil rights issue. Marriage equality is as important as the emancipation of any group from oppression and the granting of equal rights to any community."

Read Paterson's full statement here.

(Photo courtesy of Paterson's office)

H1N1 Booster Clinic at BRMC

H1N1 immunization booster shots for 3- to 6-year-olds will be available next week at Bradford Regional Medical Center (BRMC), but parents or guardians must first call Friday, Dec. 4, or Monday, Dec. 7, for an appointment.

"To schedule an appointment for 3- to 6-year-olds, parents or guardians must call today or Monday between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m.," said Terrie O'Brien, BRMC's infection control practitioner. The special number to call is 814-362-8740.

“Once an appointment is made, parents or guardians can take children to Thursday’s clinic on Dec. 10 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. in BRMC’s main lobby for their second-dose H1N1 immunization,” she said. Both the nasal mist and injectable H1N1 vaccine will be available.

“It’s important to receive the second immunization so that children have full immunity,” Mrs. O’Brien said.

“We excluded school-age children from this immunization clinic because the school district has already provided immunizations to that age group,” Mrs. O’Brien noted.

BRMC officials said more H1N1 clinics will be scheduled for other target groups as additional vaccine becomes available.

According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the H1N1 flu is a new strain that spreads from person-to-person just as the seasonal flu does, and is expected to be widespread this flu season.

WESB Web Extra:
The Latest on H1N1 in PA

This morning I spoke with Dr. Stephen Ostroff, PA’s Acting Physician General, who discussed the H1N1 vaccination and virus.

You can listen here.

Also, the Pennsylvania Department of Health is warning people about an e-mail scam:

Harrisburg – The Pennsylvania Department of Health urges computer users not to open a fraudulent e-mail that claims to be from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, and asks individuals to create a "personal H1N1 vaccination profile."

Anyone receiving this e-mail should not open it and delete it immediately. The fraudulent e-mail links to a fake Web site that attempts to collect personal information. Clicking on the embedded link in the e-mail puts users at risk of having a malicious code installed on their computer.

Some Pennsylvanians have coincidentally received this e-mail after registering for the Department of Health’s H1N1 vaccine clinics, but there is no relation. Pennsylvania’s online vaccine registration system is safe to use and does not ask registrants to provide any personal information other than their name.

An example of the H1N1 scam e-mail is below:

From: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) [info@cdcdelivery.gov]

Subject: [BULK] Instructions on creation of your personal Vaccination Profile

You have received this e-mail because of the launching of State Vaccination H1N1 Program. You need to create your personal H1N1 (swine flu) Vaccination Profile on the cdc.gov website. The Vaccination is not obligatory, but every person that has reached the age of 18 has to have his personal Vaccination Profile on the cdc.gov site. This profile has to be created both for the vaccinated people and the not-vaccinated ones. This profile is used for the registering system of vaccinated and not-vaccinated people.

Create your Personal H1N1 Vaccination Profile using the link: create personal profile

~~~

For the latest information you can go to http://www.h1n1inpa.com/

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Differing Opinions on Benefits,
Downfalls of Medical Marijuana

The state House Health and Human Services Committee held a hearing Wednesday on making medical marijuana legal in Pennsylvania.

Representative Mark Cohen of Philadelphia is the sponsor of the bill, and estimates that medical marijuana could bring in $25 million a year in tax revenues.

Cohen says it's time that Pennsylvania provides relief for people who suffer from chronic pain that can be relieved by medical marijuana according to some studies.

State Representative Matt Baker of Tioga County has some concerns about the issue, including the benefits of using the drug.

"Despite anecdotal claims, smoked marijuana has not been found to be safe or effective treating any medical condition, primarily because its alleged therapeutic utility has yet to be sufficiently demonstrated in well-controlled clinical trials," Baker said.

In a letter to the committee, Attorney General Tom Corbett said he opposes the bill, saying that even the limited legalization of marijuana could compound the dangers that drugs present to society.

A spokesman for Senate Majority Leader Dominic Pileggi said that chamber's GOP members have no plans to consider a medical marijuana bill even if it does pass the House.

NY Deficit Reduction Plan Approved

The New York State Senate has approved a deficit reduction plan that means a savings of $2.7 billion this year.

Senator Cathy Young is not happy with the bill that reached the floor.

"In some areas, it went to far, and in other it didn't go far enough," Young said. "It cut programs for people with disabilities, community colleges and libraries when it wasn't necessary.

She said the plan upstate senators proposed would have cut more spending by reducing bureaucracy and stopping expansion of Medicaid programs, and would have kept other programs in place.

"The state got in this mess because of the disastrous tax-and-spend budget that I strongly opposed earlier this year," Young said. "You could see this train wreck coming from a mile away."

She said the solution to the deficit is rolling back taxes and putting a spending cap in place.

Governor David Paterson said while the plan provides needed savings it falls well short of closing the $3.2 billion budget gap.

Alleged Sheetz Robber in Custody

St. Marys police have arrested a man accused of robbing the Sheetz store on South Michael Street this morning.

26-year-old Edmund Ambuski Jr. of St. Marys was picked up about just before 3 o'clock this afternoon. The robbery was at just after 7 a.m.

Ambuski was taken into custody following a traffic stop at the Country Fair on Route 255 in Fox Township.

He's in Elk County Jail.

ANF Snowmobile Loop to Stay Open

The Allegheny National Forest announced today that contrary to misinformation previously reported the Allegheny Snowmobile Loop (ASL) is not being shut down.

The ASL is a 159-mile system of snowmobile trails in portions of Warren, Forest, Elk and McKean Counties. Including connector trails and the Rocky Gap and Timberline ATV trails (dual use snowmobile/ATV trails), the entire ASL system covers over 350 miles. Recent media reports had indicated closing the trail may be a consideration.

According to Forest Supervisor Leanne Marten that is not the case. Marten states, “We are working with landowners, as we do each year, to ensure continued access across private property. We are also moving forward with a grooming contract as agreed to previously with the local snowmobile clubs. At no time were we discussing or considering closing the ASL.”

The ASL could open as early as December 20th if weather conditions are favorable. Snowmobile riders interested in trail conditions can contact either the Supervisor’s Office at (814) 723-5150 or the Marienville Ranger District at (814) 927-6628 by phone. The Forest website http://www.fs.fed.us/r9/forests/allegheny/ also posts the current trails conditions throughout the season.

Girl Accused of Starting Fire,
Lying to Police Waives Hearing

The girl accused of starting a fire at 177 Williams Street in September, then lying to police about it, has waived her preliminary hearing.

18-year-old Kyle Kathleen Clark originally told police she thought someone else started the fire. Several weeks later, however, police got a tip saying that Clark started it.

Clark then told police she was smoking in the house, heard someone coming and didn't want that person to see her smoking. So, she put the cigarette on a shelf in a linen closet, covered it with a towel and went to McDonald's, according to papers filed in District Judge Dom Cercone's office.

The fire caused $12,300 worth of damage.

Clark is charged with criminal mischief and making false reports to law enforcement. Authorities have said she's not charged with arson because she didn't intentionally start the fire.

She's free on unsecured bail.

Bradford Man Accused of Downloading Porn Waives Hearing

A Bradford man accused of downloading and sharing child pornography has waived his preliminary hearing.

Paul Abrams of West Washington Street was charged with possession of child pornography and selling obscene/sexual material after a state police investigator learned that someone using Abrams' IP address was sharing a movie that included images of a naked 9-year-old girl.

According to papers filed in District Judge Dom Cercone's office, Abrams told investigators he was downloading the porn in an effort to pressure anti-porn organizations to do something about Web sites that allow sharing of child porn files.

Abrams told police he had downloaded 10 files in 8 months.

He's free on unsecured bail.

Man Pleads Guilty to
Sexually Exploiting Children

A Panama, New York, man has pleaded guilty in federal court in Erie to sexually exploiting children.

The US Attorney's office says 21-year-old Kyle Rice possessed and attempted to possess computer images depicting minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

Rice is scheduled for sentencing on March 1.

Causer Responds to Petition

State Representative Marty Causer says he appreciates comments from the people who signed a petition in favor of House Bill 1858, which would allow for an optional county sales tax.

However, he says he has concerns with some of the language in the current version of the bill.

He says more than 30 amendments have been filed and would have to be considered before the bill moves forward.

Causer says that as the bill does move through the legislative process, it's very helpful to hear from his constituents.

If you haven't signed the petition yet, or would like more information, follow this link:
http://www.change.org/actions/view/sales_tax_increase_house_bill_1858

Police Looking for Sheetz Robber

St. Marys police have issued a warrant for a man who robbed a Sheetz store on South Michael Street at just after 7 o'clock this morning.

They say 26-year-old Edmund Ambuski Jr. of St. Marys threatened to use a weapon, but never showed one. He got away with an undetermined amount of cash.

Police say Ambuski was last seen in a green 1995 Pontiac Bonneville with license plate HHG-9815. He was wearing a dark green hooded coat, black pants and white shoes.

They believe he is traveling with his 16-month-old son.

Anyone with information about Ambuski's whereabouts is asked to contact police or Elk County Crime Stoppers.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Criminal Charges Filed Against
Business that Runs Gas Pipeline

An Ohio business that operates a natural gas pipeline in northwestern Pennsylvania has been charged with illegally discharging oil and other waste in Mercer County.

Attorney General Tom Corbett said agents from the Attorney General's Environmental Crimes Section filed criminal charges against Energy Exploration & Development LLC (formerly known as Energy Exploration, Inc.), 2202 Niles-Cortland Road NE, Cortland, Ohio.

Corbett said that between July and August 2009, oil and brine water was allegedly discharged from a section of pipeline located along State Route 358 in West Salem Township, Mercer County, staining a 30 foot area of soil and vegetation near an abandoned gas well site.

"Pennsylvania's environmental laws exist to safeguard our natural resources and protect our citizens," Corbett said. "Businesses have a responsibility and obligation to take proper steps to ensure that the environment is not harmed by their activity."

http://www.attorneygeneral.gov/press.aspx?id=4874

Senator Lisa Baker Pushes for
Reform of State Budget Process

State Senator Lisa Baker is convinced that the 101-day state budget impasse warrants constructive action to fix a flawed process. She proposes an amendment to the state Constitution to prevent a shutdown of state services, and legislation containing a series of deadlines for action to compel adoption of a state budget on time.

“Perhaps there will never be another revenue disaster comparable to this year’s $3.25 billion shortfall, but Pennsylvanians should not have to run that risk. A prolonged budget crisis is unfair to taxpayers and to individuals dependent on state help, disruptive to state-funded and state-subsidized service providers, and toxic to public confidence in state government,” Baker stated.

The proposed constitutional amendment would, if a new budget is not approved by the end of the fiscal year, continue the previous state budget at an 80% funding level. “This step ensures the continuation of services, without opening the door to overspending. Continuing the budget takes away much of the political leverage from a stalemate, and it also works to preclude a bad budget settlement done out of deadline desperation,” she said.

The legislation would require the Senate and the House to introduce budget bills six weeks after the Governor’s budget address. By the second week of May, each chamber would have to vote on a complete and balanced state budget plan. If a budget agreement is not reached by mid-June, each chamber would have to vote on the budget sent to them.

“The Rendell Administration’s emphasis on earlier budget negotiations as the simple solution misses the point. Negotiations can take place anytime with anyone who chooses to engage. But action on a responsible balanced budget ultimately matters. This approach does not take away any options in shaping a budget, but it is designed to eliminate the ‘just do nothing’ strategy that the House of Representatives used this year,” Baker explained.

The Baker plan combines several suggestions put forward by advocacy groups over the years. “There is no shortage of ideas to choose from. The challenge is deciding on changes that are practical, that represent a real improvement, and that can attract sufficient legislative support,” Baker pointed out.

“While plans built around imposing penalties have popular appeal, there is concern that such an approach stresses timeliness over quality. By squeezing some of the political gamesmanship and brinksmanship out of the budget process, we can strike a better balance between getting the budget done on time and getting a budget that does not impose unnecessary costs on taxpayers,” she noted.

“Given the strong regional and political differences in Pennsylvania, the budget process will rarely be non-contentious. But we clearly have an obligation to put together a process that is more functional and accountable than the frustrating and indefensible dispute citizens were forced to watch this year,” Baker concluded.

Environmental Group Addresses
Marcellus Shale Drilling Concerns

By ANNE HOLLIDAY
WESB/WBRR News Director


One of the problems with current regulations for gas well drillers is that the drilling companies control the pre-drilling testing.

That was one message from Brady Russell, Eastern Pennsylvania Director of Clean Water Action, during a teleconference Tuesday morning to introduce a report from Penn Environment that makes recommendations to address concerns in areas where Marcellus Shale drilling is, or will be, taking place.

PennEnvironment Clean Water Advocate Erika Staaf said the policy should act as a blueprint for regulators and state officials. It includes keeping some areas off limits to drillers, creating mandatory minimum penalties for drillers that pollute, strengthened clean water laws, and more funding for DEP for expanded enforcement.

As for the pre-drilling testing, Russell said an independent third party should be doing that. The third party should do baseline sampling of water, then do more sampling as the drilling continues, he said.

He said the cost for a homeowner to do that himself would be about $300, which is "a lot."

Russell said homeowners can do it after they start getting money from the drillers, but there's no baseline after that.

"What's crazy about this whole Marcellus Shale development is it's the only industry that we can imagine … that generates a significant amount of highly polluted wastewater that no one is forced to make a plan for dealing with that wastewater before they got their operations underway," Russell said.

"If a new chemical treatment plant came in, we would never let them turn the machines on if they didn't know how they were going to deal with their wastewater," he said.

“Drilling for gas in the Marcellus Shale reserve began here just over three years ago, and already too many local drinking water supplies and waterways have been contaminated because of this drilling,” Staaf said. “The faster Pennsylvania’s leaders work to pass comprehensive policies and regulations on this type of gas drilling, the less likely we’ll be to see yet another gas leak or wastewater spill, and the safer we’ll all be.”

State Representative Greg Vitali agrees with PennEnvironment's recommendations.

He says one of the most frightening facts he's heard is that there are only several Marcellus Shale wells in operation now, but in upcoming years there will be several thousand.

"If you think there are problems out there now, increase that a thousand-fold," Vitali said.

“PennEnvironment’s policies ideas should serve as a blueprint for Pennsylvania’s leaders. If the legislature implements the policies, the state will be on its way toward allowing safe drilling while protecting public health and preserving our natural heritage for future generations of Pennsylvanians,” Staaf said.

Hearing on PA's Proposed Medical
Marijuana Bill Set for Wednesday

The Pennsylvania House of Representatives Health and Human Services Committee will hold a public hearing on Wednesday to debate HB 1393, the Compassionate Use Medical Marijuana Act.

Introduced by Rep. Mark B. Cohen, chair of the House Democratic Caucus, HB 1393 would allow seriously ill patients to use medical marijuana without fear of arrest or jail if their doctor has recommended it. Qualified patients who register with the state would be able to grow six plants or purchase marijuana through compassion centers, and sales of medical marijuana could be taxed, according to the bill.

The entire text of the bill can be read here.

Hanukkah Concert Set for Dec. 9 at
St. Bonaventure's Quick Center

The Shul Band will perform a concert of klezmer music at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Dec., 9, at St. Bonaventure University’s Regina A. Quick Center for the Arts.

The concert is being presented by Temple B’Nai Israel of Olean.

Klezmer music originated in the middle ages in the villages and slums of Eastern Europe where itinerant Jewish troubadours, known as “klezmorim,” performed at joyful events, particularly weddings and holiday celebrations. The klezmorim, through contact with Slavonic, Greek, Turkish, Arabic, Gypsy and even American jazz musicians, generated a very diversified music, easily recognizable and widely appreciated all around the world. Today it can best be described as world music.

The Shul Band is based at the historic Angel Orensanz Foundation for the Arts, New York City’s oldest still-standing synagogue, where it performs regularly for the Shabbath services. The band’s musical instruments include violin, guitar, mandolin, clarinet and bass.

In addition to taking part in the religious services, The Shul Band appears in concert halls and clubs around New York City, across the United States and abroad. In November of 2008, the band made its first appearance in Krakow, Poland, where klezmer music started.

The musicians of The Shul Band bring together a diverse feast of musical styles and cultural backgrounds to make for a dynamic, mesmerizing and stimulating ensemble.

“We are very happy to work together with the congregation of Temple B’Nai Israel in introducing the sounds of klezmer to the communities of Olean and St. Bonaventure in a joyful concert to celebrate the holiday of Hanukkah,” said Ludwig Brunner, director of programming at The Quick Center.

Tickets for the concert are $20 at full price, $16 for St. Bonaventure staff and senior citizens, and $5 for students. For tickets and information, call The Quick Center at (716) 375-2494.

For this and all other performances, the museum galleries will open one hour before the start of the performance and remain open throughout the intermission. Regular gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Museum admission is free and open to the public year round. For more information, visit www.sbu.edu/quickcenter.

Pitt-Bradford Places Defibrillators
On Campus for Heart Safety

The University of Pittsburgh at Bradford is a more heart-safe campus thanks to the placement of seven new automated external defibrillators in academic buildings on campus.

The seven new defibrillators are in addition to three of the devices that already existed on campus. Simple-to-use AEDs can now be found in the lobbies of the Sport and Fitness Center, the Frame-Westerberg Commons, Swarts Hall, Fisher Hall, Hanley Library, Blaisdell Hall, the Hangar Building and the Seneca Building downtown.

In addition, campus police carry a portable unit and another portable unit travels with Pitt-Bradford sports teams.

Dr. Jean Truman, assistant professor of nursing, was chairwoman of the faculty senate’s health and safety committee at the time that it recommended purchasing and installing the units. A corporate buy-down grant was secured, and the office of the president contributed to the $10,000 cost.

In combination with effective cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, the units do not require those helping sudden cardiac victims to have any additional training.

“If someone needs help, most people want to help, and this gives them a greater ability to do so,” Truman said.

In the event that someone collapses, a witness opens a glass case housing the AED and removes the unit. The unit can be easily taken to another part of a building or even outside. Opening the glass case sets off a loud chirping alarm designed to draw others to the area to help give assistance.

As soon as the case to the unit is opened, a loud, automated voice gives instructions. The caregiver removes the victim’s shirt and places two adhesive pads on the victim’s chest. The machine will read the victim’s heart rhythm to determine whether a shock is appropriate.

If a shock is needed, the unit instructs the operator to push a button for the AED to deliver the life-saving shock.

The most common cause of sudden cardiac death is a quivering of the heart’s lower chambers. AEDs work by shocking the heart, allowing it to “reset” its own natural electrical rhythm.

The death rate from heart attacks increases up to 10 percent with every minute that goes by without defibrillation and CPR, according to the American Heart Association. After 10 minutes without defibrillation, a person who is suffering from a heart attack has less than a 10 percent chance of survival.

“This initiative is one means of bridging the gap of time to defibrillation and saving lives,” Truman said

Pictured, Dr. Jean Truman, assistant professor of nursing at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, demonstrates one of the new automated external defibrillators on campus.
(Photo courtesy of Pitt-Bradford)

Friends of Hanley Library to Present
Seasonal Readings onWESB

For the 17th consecutive year, the Friends of Hanley Library at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford will present its annual “Seasonal Readings” on WESB’s LiveLine program.

The show, which can be heard at 1490 AM, and online at WESB.com, will be broadcast at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 9.

Dr. Don Ulin, associate professor of English, will read Christmas poems, along with other traditional works associated with the season.

According to Roger Peters, chairperson of the Friends’ program committee, “The Friends are grateful to Dr. Ulin for bringing this wonderful holiday tradition to our region each December. We always look forward to hearing his selections. We also appreciate that WESB’s LiveLine format allows the Friends to reach many listeners in their homes and places of work.”

The annual holiday radio program was created by the late Dr. Robert Laing, professor emeritus at Pitt-Bradford and a board member of the Friends of Hanley Library. The group was founded in 1990 to strengthen relations between the community and Pitt-Bradford’s Hanley Library. The Friends also acquaint area residents with what the library has to offer by sponsoring cultural and educational programs, usually related to books and their authors.

CDs of Laing reading Charles Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” are available for purchase at The Panther Shop on campus. Proceeds benefit the Friends.

World AIDS Day

In recognition of World AIDS Day, I interviewed Kandy Ferree, president and CEO of the National AIDS Fund.

You can listen by clicking here.

PennDOT Changes Age
Requirement for Photo ID Cards

Harrisburg – Beginning today, PennDOT will make photo identification (ID) cards available to Pennsylvania residents ages 10 and older. The previous minimum age requirement to obtain a photo ID card was 16.

Act 159 of 2006 lowered the minimum age requirement for a Pennsylvania photo ID card to age 10. The law took effect Nov. 29, 2009. All other requirements for obtaining a Pennsylvania photo ID card remain the same.

To obtain a photo ID card, an individual must complete Form DL-54A, “Application for Initial Photo Identification Card,” which is available on PennDOT’s Driver and Vehicle Services Web site, www.dmv.state.pa.us under the Driver License/Photo ID Information Center. An individual must bring the completed form, along with the required identity documents and a fee of $12 to a PennDOT Driver License Center to obtain the photo ID. Required identity documents are listed on Form DL-54A.

PennDOT reminds individuals under the age of 18 applying for a photo ID card that a parent, guardian or person acting in loco parentis must accompany them to a PennDOT Driver License Center.

Local Woman Participates in
National Breast Cancer Study

By George Nianiatus, senior writer/media manager
Marketing and Communications Department
Upper Allegheny Health System


Holly Pascale may have never envisioned being a trailblazer who could ultimately help herself and so many other women with breast cancer.
Still, this is precisely the direction she’s taken by being the first to participate in a national clinical breast cancer trial through the Cancer Care Center at Bradford Regional Medical Center (BRMC), a regional clinical network member of Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

The national study by Roswell Park, scheduled to last three years, is designed to help researchers determine whether drugs called bisphosphonates can prevent breast cancer from spreading to the bone and also protect against bone problems associated with standard treatments for breast cancer.

Ms. Pascale hopes her participation in the study, which includes free medication to those volunteering, will help her own condition and spur other women to enroll in the national study as well.

“I certainly hope it will prevent me from having a recurrence and encourage other women with breast cancer to participate in this clinical trial,” Ms. Pascale says.

“I never could have afforded these types of medications, otherwise,” says Ms. Pascale, who’s been on medical leave for several months from her daycare center job.

“She is the first breast cancer patient to take part in the local portion of the study and I truly commend her for it,” says Eyad S. Al-Hattab, M.D., medical director of Oncology/Hematology at BRMC’s Cancer Care Center and a staff physician in Medical Oncology at Roswell Park. He will oversee the study at BRMC.

As part of an affiliation agreement between BRMC and Roswell Park, Dr. Al-Hattab practices full time in Bradford but also works with Roswell Park faculty to improve access to quality cancer care for patients in Northwest Pennsylvania and the Southern Tier of New York state.

“She’ll be taking these medications for three years and we’ll be tracking information on her and other participants for another five to 10 years,” Dr. Al-Hattab says.

“The medications we’re using are very safe and effective. They’ve been around for a long time,” the oncologist states.

“This is an excellent way for women with breast cancer to enter a study of this magnitude and get medication treatments for free,” Dr. Al-Hattab explains, noting, “The study is completely voluntary and participants can stop at anytime without providing a reason.”

Ms. Pascale’s eventual entry into the clinical study came about when this past March a lump was found in her breast. She had a biopsy taken, which involves removing a small tissue sample for analysis. At that time, though, no abnormalities were found.

A few months later the lump became painful and she had it checked again in May. It was then determined she had Stage II breast cancer, meaning the disease spread to the auxiliary lymph nodes under her arm.

In addition to a lumpectomy to remove the tumor, she underwent several more surgical procedures to remove cancerous lymph nodes and also place an injection port under her skin to regularly dispense chemotherapy treatments.
“So far, I’ve had five surgeries and undergone radiation and chemotherapy,” says Ms. Pascale.

Under the study, Ms. Pascale will either take a daily medication or an intravenous treatment once a month, says Dr. Al-Hattab. After the first six months, the regular treatments will be spaced further apart.

Additionally, Ms. Pascale is planning to undergo radiation therapy at whatever nearby hospital is most convenient to her.

Ms. Pascale is more than eager to participate in the clinical study. There are far more birthdays she wants to celebrate for herself, her son and daughter, and especially her 4-year-old grandson.

“We definitely want more women to enter this study, which will give us more accurate data,” says Dr. Al-Hattab.

For further information about the study, call Anne Zimbardi at BRMC at 814-362-8425 and refer to clinical trial SWOG-S0307.

Bradford Regional Medical Center and Olean General Hospital are members of Upper Allegheny Health System. The two hospitals integrated on Nov. 5. This integration is intended to enhance the hospitals’ ability to introduce new and expanded programs and services in response to regional healthcare needs.
Additionally, the integration will improve the ability of the hospitals to recruit physicians and other clinical professionals, better manage healthcare costs and improve financial stability.

Combined, the two hospitals serve 150,000 area residents, have $160 million in annual revenue and employ over 1,600 people. For further information, go online at www.brmc.com, www.ogh.org or www.uahs.org.

The mission of Roswell Park Cancer Institute is to understand, prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1898, Roswell Park was one of the first cancer care centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and remains the only facility with this designation in Upstate New York.

Roswell Park is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers; maintains affiliate sites; and is a partner in national and international collaborative programs. For more information about Roswell Park, go online at www.roswellpark.org.

Pictured, Port Allegany resident Holly Pascale, who’s participating in a national breast cancer study, has details explained by Eyad S. Al-Hattab, M.D., medical director of Oncology/Hematology at Bradford Regional Medical Center’s Cancer Care Center. He also is a staff physician in Medical Oncology at Roswell Park Cancer Institute.
(Photo courtesy of BRMC)

Freezin' for a Reason

Winter is right around the corner, but the cold weather will not stop this cause from hitting the beach.

St. Bonaventure University students and faculty have come together to create team Buoyant Bonnies to raise money for the Polar Plunge, a fundraiser leading up to a Dec. 6 dip in frigid Lake Erie. The money raised helps provide more than 47,000 Special Olympic athletes in New York state with year-round training and exercise, so they can compete at no cost.

The Polar Plunge takes place Dec. 6 from 9 a.m. until noon at the Hamburg (N.Y.) Town Beach.

This is the third year that the Polar Plunge has partnered with the St. Bonaventure campus. In 2007 and 2008, the School of Education hosted the event. This year, Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) joined in hopes of making the event even bigger.

Not only is SIFE one of the largest service organizations on campus, but it also ranks in the top 5 percent of all other SIFE teams nationwide. SIFE’s main service project is its economic development zone in the Bahamas. The group plans to use some of the money raised during the Polar Plunge for the Special Olympics in the Bahamas.

“We want to tie the two projects together,” said Katie Peek, an integrated marketing communications graduate student. “It would be great to help both causes.”

Oct. 14 marked the Polar Plunge Kickoff at St. Bonaventure. SIFE and the School of Education sold knit gloves for $5 and set up a dunk tank outside of the Reilly Center. Dr. Jim Mahar, associate professor in the School of Business, was one of the professors to volunteer for a turn at the outdoor dunk tank on a day when the temperature dipped into the 30s.

“Being cold for a while is a small price to pay to help,” said Mahar. “The Plunge and SBU SIFE’s fundraising is just another way that SBU works with other groups.”

Mahar wasn’t the only faculty member “Freezin’ for a Reason” at the event. Physical education associate professor Dr. Paula Scraba, who has worked with the Special Olympics since 1976, also volunteered to be dunked.

“Being part of the dunk was just a small contribution to support the efforts of our students on campus with their goal to raise funds for the Polar Plunge,” said Scraba.

While frozen professors were being dunked, SIFE provided hot chocolate and coffee for $1. SIFE also sold bracelets and held a raffle. All the money raised during the event went directly to SIFE’s Buoyant Bonnies team.

The Buoyant Bonnies currently have 71 members and the group hopes to eventually sign up 100 for the Lake Erie plunge. With the $2,000 they have already raised, the Buoyant Bonnies have raised the most money of all Western New York teams participating in the event. But they are not stopping there. The goal is to raise at least $10,000 this year. Donations can be taken up to a week after the event.

For more information on the Polar Plunge, visit www.polarplunge.kintera.org/wny/sbusife.

He Got His Buck

Rick Weinberg of Bradford shows off the buck he got Monday, the first day of firearms deer season in Pennsylvania.

(Photo courtesy of Kimberly Weinberg)

Monday, November 30, 2009

New UPB Scholarship to Benefit
Students Studying Sport Sciences

A new scholarship at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford will benefit students pursuing careers in the sport sciences.

The Dr. Rebecca J. Mowrey Excellence in Sport Studies Scholarship was endowed by Mowrey, who served on the Pitt-Bradford faculty for 13 years, and by Dr. Holly J. Spittler, associate dean of student affairs, a colleague and friend of Mowrey.

“Pitt-Bradford is a special place, and I’ll always treasure my years and memories as a member of the faculty there,” Mowrey said. “I’m really happy to support Pitt-Bradford by establishing this scholarship.”

Mowrey began her professional career as an educator at Pitt-Bradford, where she worked with Dr. Carol Baker, then vice president of academic affairs, to establish the sport and recreation management and sports medicine majors on campus.

In 1996, Mowrey joined the faculty at Millersville University of Pennsylvania where she is professor of sport management in the Wellness and Sport Sciences Department. She is also director of the graduate sport management program and vice president of the faculty senate.

While her place of employment has changed, Mowrey has never forgotten the college where she began her professional career nearly 30 years ago. Over the years, she has followed and supported the growth and development of Pitt-Bradford while retaining ties with faculty, staff and students. Five Pitt-Bradford graduates have completed the master of education degrees in sport management under Mowrey’s mentorship at Millersville.

After hearing about the Agnes L. and Lewis Lyle Scholarship Challenge, which provides matching funds for scholarship gifts of $5,000 to $50,000, Mowrey and Spittler, along with Mowrey’s parents, the Rev. Drs. James and Thelma Mowrey, endowed a scholarship. The Mowreys served from 1979 to 1989 as pastor and associate pastor, respectively, of the First United Methodist Church in Bradford.

The scholarship is for a returning senior, junior or sophomore majoring in athletic training, sports medicine or sport and recreation management with a grade-point average of 3.0 or higher.

Spittler said, “This scholarship reflects Dr. Mowrey’s legacy as an outstanding educator who set high standards for her students and herself. Over the years, she has talked about a desire to establish a scholarship at Pitt-Bradford, and the Thomas Scholarship Challenge made it possible.”

In addition to her teaching duties, Mowrey is active in her church and in her community, as a trained restorative justice mediator with the Lancaster County Center for Restorative Practices.

She is past president of the international Sport and Recreation Law Association and the national Sport Management Council. In 2007, she was selected and trained by Habitat for Humanity International to serve as a Global Village team leader and last summer led a team to Auckland, New Zealand. She serves as faculty advisor to the campus Chapter of Habitat at Millersville.

For more information, on the Mowrey Scholarship or the Thomas Scholarship Challenge, contact the Pitt-Bradford Institutional Advancement Office at (814)362-5104 or Joelle Warner, manager of donor services, at jaw104@pitt.edu.

(Photo by Olan Mills)

First Night's Got Talent

First Night Bradford will host a First Night’s Got Talent contest during its New Year’s Eve festivities on Thursday, December 31st.

Auditions to qualify for the final event to be held on New Year’s Eve will be held on Monday, December 7 and Wednesday, December 9 from 6-9 p.m. at the Friendship Table, on W. Corydon Street in Bradford. First Night’s Got Talent is open to any entertainment act. Participants are asked to bring their own accompaniment music to the audition. A CD player will be provided.

Finalists will perform during First Night Bradford before a panel of judges, which will include country singer and Nashville recording artist Robert Allen who will also perform at First Night Bradford, and WESB/WBRR's Anne Holliday.

WESB/WBRR's Scott Douglas will be the master of ceremonies for the finals.

For more information contact Kim Hallock at 366-2524 or visit the website at www.firstnightbradford.com

Santa's Schedule Announced

Santa is going to be very busy this holiday season in Downtown Bradford’s Historic District!

The following merchants have announced their Santa schedule of appearances:
Saturday, December 5th, 12th and 19th, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Cavallaro Paint & Decorating/JC Penney Catalog, Kennedy Street; Sunday, December 6th, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. – The Option House, 41 Main Street; Friday, December 11th, 5:30 – 8 p.m. - Santa’s House at 23 Main Street during Bradford’s Old Fashioned Christmas; and Saturday, December 19th, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. – Main Street Mercantile, 96 Main Street.

Santa will also read children's letters on 1490 WESB from 5:15 to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. Kids can drop off their letters in Santa's Mailbox at Tops on Main Street in Bradford.